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Columbus to Improve Wastewater Treatment; Receiving Financing from Ohio EPA
Columbus will improve water quality in Alum Creek when the city completes improvements to the Alum Creek Storm Tank (ACST) facility. The work is being financed primarily through a $1.842 million low-interest Ohio EPA loan. Columbus will provide the remaining $246,000.
The ACST was constructed in 1933 at the corner of Alum Creek Drive and Main Street. The facility’s primary function is to store storm water when flows are high (during significant rain and snow melt), and reduce the number of incidents in which storm water and untreated sanitary sewage combine and overflow into area streams. The two major components of the ACST facility are a covered 850,000-gallon storm tank and an above-ground control house.
Since its construction, the facility has not undergone any significant rehabilitation or upgrades and the two primary components of the system that ensure it operates at peak efficiency have become less efficient. The city will replace obsolete equipment and add real-time monitoring. Part of the rehabilitation of the control building will be to improve safety by separating the electrical room and other interior spaces between the lower level storm tank and control house.
Created in 1989, the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) provides below-market interest rate loans for communities to improve their wastewater treatment systems. The reduced interest rate on the $1,842,000 loan will save Columbus $363,000.
In addition to improvements to publicly owned treatment works, WPCLF loans have been provided for agricultural best management practices, home sewage system improvements, landfill closures and water quality-based storm water projects. The WPCLF provides technical assistance to public wastewater systems in a variety of areas from the planning, design and construction of improvements to enhancing the technical, managerial and financial capacity of these systems. WPCLF loans also make possible the restoration and protection of some of Ohio’s highest quality water bodies through the fund’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program.
Ohio EPA’s revolving loan funds are partially supported by federal grants and designed to last indefinitely through repayment of loans and investments in bonds. The loan program is managed by Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance, with assistance from the Ohio Water Development Authority. Ohio EPA is responsible for program development and implementation, individual project coordination, and environmental and other technical reviews/approvals of projects seeking funds. The Ohio Water Development Authority provides financial management of the fund.
More information about the WPCLF is available at: epa.ohio.gov/defa/EnvironmentalandFinancialAssistance.aspx.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.